Proposal- Autism and Mental Health

Autism and Mental Health

The research topic I have chosen is the different effects that Autism might have on the mental health of those affected. I have chosen to write about this topic because it interests me. I have always been drawn in by topics related to psychology and the way we, as humans, react to factors in our life and within ourselves. As someone who was diagnosed with major clinical depression and anxiety disorder, I know how difficult it can be to complete certain things can be during the daily routine. My brother was diagnosed with autism at the age of one, he is now about to turn three, and is often troubled by not being able to easily complete activities that a neurotypical could.

Some inquiry questions I have for my topic of mental health and autism are is there a higher prevalence of mental health distress in people with autism? Why are talking therapies less effective for those affected by autism? How can other sorts of treatments better aid people with autism? These questions are worth investigating because I want to know on what level does the diagnosis that my brother was given affects his present and future development. And, not only the way it affects him but the thousands of kids, teenagers and adults who are undergoing through the effects of this disorder. The question I would like to expand my research and knowledge is whether a higher chance of mental distress exists in people with autism than in neurotypical people. I would like to expand my knowledge in this because I have often read about many teenagers and adults affected by autism committing suicide and also mass murders to get rid of themselves and of a subject that bother them, but in a ostentatious way.

            To draw a conclusion, I will need to investigate how a ´normal´ brain functions in comparison to the brain of a person with autism. Besides the anatomical point of view, I will need to research about what mental illnesses are the most common among those who are neurotypical and compare it to the percentage of people with autism. I will need to investigate what makes talking therapy successful and what components are within it. For example, is it the same for everyone, or do therapists create different plans for each patient, and if so, how and based on what? To better understand the effect of therapy on those troubled by autism and its symptoms, I will need to research how treatments for this group get develop and on based on what factors.

Instructions for Module 3: April 3 through the End of Spring Break

For the next week and a half (today through April 12/13), we’ll just be focusing on learning research skills and then doing research for our final projects.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will become adept at navigating the John Jay library website and the many kinds of online resources available
  2. Students will learn research skills relevant to the beginning of a project and apply that knowledge to explore their own inquiry questions
  3. Students will create a base of background knowledge on their topics and a preliminary list of sources to reference as they compose their projects

Overview of Tasks

  1. Orient yourself with a Writing Into the Week prompt (share only if you wish)
  2. Watch some short video tutorials provided by the John Jay library
  3. Begin doing research toward answering your chosen inquiry question, using the John Jay library website
  4. Keep a running list of sources you think you might want to use for your paper– just pasting links into a file or bookmarking them is fine.
  5. Toward the end of the module (so maybe April 12 or 13), make a comment on this post giving an update on how things are going with your project (and/or with your life!)

Step 1: Writing Into the Week

  1. Regardless of how you feel about writing a research paper, what are some things that you are excited to learn as you work on this project? You all had a lot of freedom in choosing your topics– what are you most looking forward to?
  2. Take some time to freewrite for another 5-10 minutes. Set a timer. Just a few minutes to yourself, to write whatever comes to mind. Or draw! Just keep your pencil on the page or your hands on the keyboard, and keep them moving.

Step 2: Research Training from John Jay Library

Our library offers A LOT of video tutorials.  I’m going to list links below for a few that I want you to make sure you watch, but I encourage you to also watch/read others–if not now, then over the course of the next several weeks as questions arise. I will add a longer list of tutorials I particularly recommend on our Resources page.

**Some of the pages might ask you to sign in. Just use your John Jay computer/email login.**

Video 1: From Questions to Keywords
You all have inquiry questions written– how do you choose good keywords that will take you directly to the things you want to find?

Video 2: Getting Started with Google/Wikipedia
Also click to “Part 2” of this tutorial to view the video “Moving From Google/Wikipedia to Databases”

Video 3: Exploration Strategies

Read through:

Step 3: Research!

There’s a couple places I recommend you start, aside from doing general background research.

  1. View the library’s Research Guide for your topic’s subject area and choose a database the guide recommends
  2. Try searching in Academic Search Complete
  3. In the righthand sidebar of our course site, there are two search bars– one lets you search our course site, but the other takes you directly to the library’s main database, One Search! You can start right now by typing some keywords in there!

Step 4: Running List

You should actually do this one at the same time as Step 3. Whether you use a Word doc, a Google doc, or have another way you prefer to keep track, make sure you keep a list of the sources you find that you think will be useful!

Don’t worry about shaping them into an annotated bibliography right now– we have another couple weeks before we’re at that stage. Just paste the links in there, and maybe leave a note to remind yourself of the title/author/what it’s about and why you chose it.

Step 5: Give a Progress Update!

Toward the end of the module (so maybe April 12 or 13), make a comment on this post giving an update on how things are going with your project (and/or with your life!)

How are things going? What have you found/learned so far? Are you needing to adjust your inquiry question(s)? What are your next steps?

If you want to share, how are things going in your life beyond this class?

***I would like everyone to schedule a virtual conference with me sometime before the end of the semester so we can chat about your paper one on one in real time. It’s up to you when you do it– if you are having trouble getting started with research, now could be a good time! But you can also wait until later in the writing process, or make multiple appointments**



Annotated Bibliography Instructions and Rubric

The annotated bibliography is not due until Friday, April 24th. You have 3 weeks to work on it. However, because this week (I’m writing this on April 3) is reserved as research time, I wanted to make sure you have these guidelines well in advance so you know what you’re working towards.  


**But also see below for an Alternative Option**

  1. As you research your inquiry question for your final project, compile a list of sources (bibliography) that help you answer your question and/or provide useful background knowledge for you and your readers.
  2. Cite each source according to APA style.
  3. Below each citation, write a paragraph or so about that source (an annotation). The paragraph should include:– A summary of the source
    —Your thoughts on the source (How do you think you will use it in your paper? What biases do you think it might have? What are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses? How does it connect to your other sources?)

Other Guidelines:

  • At least 6 sources + annotations
  • At least half of the sources should be scholarly/found through the John Jay library databases. The other half can come from wherever as long as you think they are trustworthy.
  • In addition to writing each citation in APA style, you should also include these other aspects of APA formatting: title page with title, name, university, and any author’s note you want to include, correct running head on all pages, page numbers, correctly titled References page


Complete an APA-style bibliography without the annotations.

Then, create a video in which you show each source and verbally talk through the source and your analysis of it according to the guidelines for annotations above. You can do this via screencasting (built into iPhones and Macs, not sure about PCs and Androids) or by taking a video of your computer screen using your phone. It’s totally fine if the video is informal/unedited, but you can make it fancy if you want to.


Each source + annotation includes all required parts (citation, summary, your thoughts)
(3 points per entry = 18 points, but 1 point off per source that doesn’t meet the scholarly vs. not scholarly requirements. Make sure you have 3 scholarly sources—the other 3 can be scholarly or non-scholarly)

  • Source 1 ___
  • Source 2 ___
  • Source 3 ___
  • Source 4 ___
  • Source 5 ___
  • Source 6 ___

Total for this section: ____

Every other element of APA style listed in the instructions is met: 9 points

  • Title page ___
  • Title ____
  • Name ___
  • University ____
  • Author’s Note (if applicable) ____
  • Correct Running Head First Page ____
  • Correct Running Head Subsequent Pages ____
  • Page Numbers ____
  • Beginning of bibliography is titled “References” ___

Turned in on time (3 points) ____

***Due to the many serious ways the pandemic may be affecting our lives, if you turn it in late, I’ll just grade you out of 27 instead of out of 30. It’s sort of 3 free points, but each other aspect of the rubric affects your grade on the assignment a tiny bit (0.5% per point) more. I wanted a way to incentivize turning it in on time to keep folks on track and make my grading life easier without hurting those who can’t due to factors outside of their countrol.***

Total: ____ (out of 30 or 27 points)

Proposal: Social Distancing

Over the past month, we have been hearing about the term social distancing more than ever. It might be me slowly losing my mind but lately, I’ve been brainstorming about where this term came from. Which brought me to my general topic which is, what is social distancing? Obviously that’s a very obvious question that wouldn’t need much research which brings me to my three inquiry questions. The first one being, how does social distancing flatten the curve/ prevent viruses from spreading? The second one being, is social distancing actually the most effective course of action when it comes to stopping viruses from spreading? The third and final question is, will social distancing become the new way in which we live and interact in this world? 

I feel all of this questions are not straight forward enough to figure out with a quick google search. They are all super important topics to be informed about especially with how hard coronavirus is hitting around the world. Many people choose to be ignorant of the fact that social distancing will probably be the only way that we can get rid of the coronavirus which is making the whole process longer than it needs to be. My questions are a mix of looking for effective ways to flatten the curve, if social distancing is actually the best course of action, and how social distancing will change our future. I know for a fact they are important since it’s all that’s being talked about in the media and I know most people are asking the same questions in their head during this pandemic.

While all these questions are important I feel as if my first question is one that I could effectively research. While my other two questions are important to know the answers to I feel like there’s more information out there on how social distancing can flatten the curve. My plan for research is pretty simple. I think I should start by comparing countries who have effectively used social distancing to their advantage and those who haven’t done enough social distancing in regards to coronavirus. However, before I even start I need to figure out when social distancing actually started and how it helped the spread of other viruses to slow down. By showing how social distancing worked (or didn’t work) in other countries combined with showing how it worked with other diseases will help me figure out how effective social distancing actually is. Another method I can use is showing how diseases spread without the use of social distancing compared to the coronavirus when social distancing was implemented. I think the hardest part of my research will be finding other instances of social distancing other than coronavirus. This is honestly the first time I have heard of the term social distancing so we will see if it has been used for other diseases.

Proposal For Final Paper

Topic:College Admissions and Rank 

               I plan on researching college admissions and ranking. I find it interesting because there are many colleges that have a variety of racial groups which make up it’s diversity. Not only do colleges look at grades but they also look at a student’s racial background. This can affect their admissions to colleges because certain schools only accept specific racial groups. This is seen as discriminatory to many students because colleges are not looking at their grades but are choosing them based on their race and background instead. Especially in New York, there are many colleges that its “diversity” is not diverse enough. When looking up universities, the statistics speak for themselves. The minorities according to a graph in census.gov regarding to college admissions, are Asians and African Americans and the majority are Hispanics and white people that get accepted into colleges. This gap proves how discriminatory or the word used In today’s society, “diverse”, colleges can be when enrolling students.

          A question that I would like to know and answer would be why do colleges look at students Ethnic and racial groups if it has nothing to do with their Academic achievements? Many students who have good grades may not have been accepted to their school based on their race and because of this, many schools may be looked bad by many people who think the school is too selective. This can affect their rank and possibly get a bad review from many parents. 

           College admissions and rank are also determined by the income families receive. Families who receive less income are gonna have less chances to get into a private college. Caucasian families have more income than families who are Asian and Hispanic. The top 3 racial groups that are enrolled into colleges accordingly are Whites, Hispanics and Asians, respectively. The difference between these 3 groups In income is drastically different though. White families make more than Hispanics and Asians combined. Students whose parents income are low rely on scholarships to cover their tuition and this is the reason why Hispanics and Asians are chosen to get into the colleges they want. 

           College ranks depend on how many students graduate on time and without debt. This is something I would also like to research. Colleges that have high rates of students graduating on time has good reviews which make them more popular. When enrolling to different colleges, students have to research the colleges they want to go to but they have to keep in mind what colleges are more open and acceptable to them. The way they figure this out is based on the college’s statistics on race, income, location, graduation rate and how many students graduate debt free. 

Final Project Proposal

Topic/Title: Statistics and data used to incriminate/judge Black people and other people of color.

Research Questions:

1) How is data used to incriminate POC?

2) Does this data and statistics take in account a person’s delinquency when judging or incriminating that person?

3) How does the media depict data and statistics in regard to each race?

Final Draft Proposal:

My research proposal will be based on how data and statistics impact the portrayal of black and POCs and the incrimination/judging of these people.  I always believed that our prison system was unfair and there are multiple example of this unjust and unfair treatment of black and POCs in that system, such as Cynthia Brown and Nathaniel Woods.

Things I will be using:
•Conviction statistics between black/POC and white people accused/charged with the same crime.
•Documentaries/Articles that can help me answer my threes question.

Final Project Proposal

I decided to do my research on the way our criminal justice system effect people of color. Considering how the system is entirely unfair, I want to explore how citizens are not only treated unfair but also the history, the present, and the future of social injustice against people of color. My inquiry questions are:

~Why is it that minorities are more susceptible to police brutality and injustices in prison?

~When an injustice happens to a person of color, can the media influence law-makers into creating new laws to protect citizens?

~What long term effects does the criminal justice system have when impacting an Individuals life, in terms of negative or positive?

I feel as though this topic is very important to me. I have personal experiences and have witnessed social injustices in my very own neighborhood. I always believed that our prison system was unfair and there are several examples shown in the media of unjust actions. People of color are most effected by these injustices. I want to know what it is that causes minorities to be a such a repetitive target?

For this research project I will be using documentaries that shine information on this topic. I will be looking into statistics and data, based on the US prison system. In addition, I will be searching for articles that can help me answer my three top questions and other questions that I have been personally curious about. For example, a question that I also have would be is there a loophole that connects to why people of color get arrested more?

Final Proposal Draft

Topic: Search history used to target individuals with specific ads

Research Question(s):

1) How can we maintain our privacy and prevent apps, such as facebook, from selling our information?

2) How is our search history used to target individuals with specific ads?

3) Could there be a breach in the “Terms & Conditions” rules?

4) Is our privacy violated when apps are using our information or data?

5) what is the contract companies have with one another in regards to consumer data?

Final Draft Proposal:

My research proposal will be based on how our own search history is used to target us with specific ads. I chose this topic because I find it very eerie how quick I receive ads after seconds of only searching them up. Not to mention, how long they last afterwards, months after said search was done! An example of this is; around the month of December looking up retroviewers for my best friend’s birthday. Months later and every now and then, my instagram gives me the occasional retroviewer ad. I also have looked into the “BarkBox” website and even offers discounts!

I would like to focus on the first question: How can we maintain our privacy and prevent apps, such as facebook, from selling our information?

In April of 2018, Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg had to testify to the US congress for selling user’s data and information to third party apps. He was thoroughly questioned during the days he testified and assured the congress, as well as users, that Facebook did NOT share private information with other apps.

Proposal for the final project (draft)

The topic I would like to conduct my research about is serial killers in popular media.

The reasons why I decided to choose this particular topic are out of my personal interest in Serial offenders and it is relevant to our course since it is going to be an analysis of media and the way they deliver information about serial killers to masses.

The main questions I would like to focus on are:

  • What exactly makes serial killers such a desirable topic of true crime tv shows, documentaries, books, etc. Why not other crime offenders – like frauds, human, drug, weapon trafficking, etc.
  • The way media portray serial killers and the way it is been perceived by people
  • In what range are heavily academic terminology Is used by media and how it affects the way information is perceived.

The two main reasons why I decided to choose this particular topic are out of my personal interest in Serial offenders and it is relevant to our course since it is going to be an analysis of media and the way they deliver information about serial killers to masses.

However, besides that there is one more reason worth mentioning: on the popular streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime video, etc., whenever we enter the true-crime or documentary section, majority of the content is related to serial killers and/or serial homicide (in case if the person killed not enough people to be clarified as a serial killer or cold cases without killer’s identity).

Most of the people can list at least 5 serial killers – Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Albert DeSalvo (aka Boston Strangler) and Dennis Rader (aka BTK killer) – are the most famous killer in the U.S. and I am not even counting Zodiac killer, who was never caught but remains a popular figure in the true crime world. But for instance, how many names of the famous Drug Lords ordinary people know? Except for Pablo Escobar? Even though there are quite a lot of active Drug Cartels such as Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez Cartels.

I’d like to focus on Q#1 since it has been questioned, I was wondering about for a while now. But I may change the focus of my study for this project if I won’t find enough literature on the question.

In terms of the research process – I will use my own books about Serial Killers and Serial homicide for essential information and terminology. As for exploring the topic of the questions – I would dig into the library in order to find related articles, dissertations, and even books. I already started to do so and I found a few interesting works that may help me in my research but I can’t say that for sure at this point because I didn’t have a chance to analyze those articles carefully.


Final Project Proposal

I plan on investigating algorithms in the Criminal Justice System because I discover it prejudicial how a judge decides whether to send you home or to jail to await trial using math.  They call it “risk assessment tools,” where they fill out your history, demographics information, and essential details to obtain a score. That score will determine how likely you are to commit another crime or show up at your next hearing date. The problem is when risk assessment tools become racist against people of color and Latinos. We need to understand how algorithms are created to define if they are useful and neutral. According to “The era of blind faith in big data must end” by Cathy O’Neil, to build an algorithm, you need two things: 1- Data: what happened in the past, and 2- definition of success: the thing you are looking for. In fact, algorithms can go wrong because they can repeat our past practices or patterns. 

I have many questions about using algorithms in the Criminal Justice System. The first, are algorithms a threat to justice? Justice is fair, equal, and balanced for everyone. What happened if that concept of justice is not applied to the reality because algorithms increase discrimination based on race, putting in risk the legislative branch? Judges are focus only on what numbers are on their screen without an in-depth evaluation of the person is in front of them. Another critical question, what data did they use to create “risk assessments tools”? Did they use data from the time people of color and Latinos were discriminated against? If yes, algorithms will repeat the same actions.

I need to find out the different risk assessment tools used by the Criminal Justice System, specifically in New York City in 2019. After I identify which assessments judges are using, I want to verify if algorithms were right. It is important to collect data to analyze the results of judges’ decisions against people of color and Latinos. I think it would be difficult to interview a judge to know his point of view regarding algorithms. Another complex aspect would be to understand how algorithms work since they use mathematical formulas.